Pleased to meet you too ^_^
Thank you. It has been an idea that God has put on my heart for a long time, and in no small part because these are the kind of questions I myself want to understand.
Yeah, the sheer quantity of individual cultures is enormous, and yet when you start delving into many of them you start to see through-lines between ones even thousands of miles apart. What always surprised me when I would watch documentaries about other cultures was not how different we were, but alike we were. Like language, innocent cultural facets are, at its core, not an expression of our differences but a different expression of our similarities. I think this is kinda what guided me to boil down their purest cultural flavor (for lack of better words) in an attempt to honor the range of true human expression.
Speaking of language, I have some interest in linguistics, so I pretty much just played with common phonemes that sounded right for those people groups and wrote them down. There was some inspiration from real places or names for some of them, but for the most part, I just made it up (and googled the names to try and check that I didn’t accidentally create something obscene, lol).
ooh, medieval North-Africa sounds like a fun setting; it gives you lots of space to play with horse-riding cultures, naval societies, desert wanderers, and even through in some crusader-esq aesthetics. And yeah, backdrops are great fun 😀 is the civil conflict a primary driving force for the plot or does it more provide a general danger and tension for the protagonist?
oof, that is a tough question… Its funny, while I feel as though dialogue is my strongest point as a writer, I think my favorite character dynamics to write are the struggles or dynamics, the relationship between the internal and external (if this isn’t cheating the question lol). Those moments from great anguish where something finally breaks, for good or ill; those times where temptation becomes overwhelming and the character must choose between the sweet deception or the painful truth; or the joy when the suffering they endured finally gives way to accepting comfort. Those terrible and beautiful moments when something changes, those are my favorite. 🙂